Mangalore editor held for ‘inciting’ hate?

In a move that could spur freedom-of-the-press activists into action, Mangalore Police on Saturday night arrested B.V. Seetharam, editor of the Karavali Ale group of publications, and his wife Rohini, reportedly on charges of carrying provocative articles on the Jain community.

The arrest follows a complaint lodged with Panambur Police by a Jain association against the tone, tenor and contents of a series of articles carried by Seetharam’s publications on the eve of the visit of Jain muni Tarun Sagar‘s visit to Mangalore, but there’s no confirmation.

(Sagar’s Amruth Pravachan began on Saturday.)

Among other things, Seetharam is said to have questioned how the muni, famous for his high-pitched, full-throated katu pravachana, could be allowed to roam naked on the streets of the City while there is a law against nudity in public.

The articles are deemed to have been inflammatory to feelings of members of the Jain community. Seetharam will be produced before the courts on Monday morning, but there is still no explanation for why the police have picked up his wife.

Seetharam’s brand of journalism has been under question by independent activists at the receiving end of it, and the People’s Rights Group has mounted a full-throated campaign against it in recent times.

Saturday’s arrest may be linked to any of Seetharam’s many previous transgressions, but its timing lends credence to the possibility that the Jain articles were the cause. If so, they open up a delicious question: is it wrong to question Jain nudity in public merely because of the religious sanction? And are Jain customs above Indian law?

Related links: Karavali Ale editor B.V. Seetharam arrested by Police

Journalist, wife in judicial custody

Photo courtesy

Cross-posted on sans serif